Neonates are predisposed to infections during the perinatal period due to multiple exposures and a relatively compromised immune system. The burden of disease attributed to neonatal infections varies by geographic region and maternal and neonatal risk factors. Worldwide, it is estimated that more than 1.4 million neonatal deaths annually are the consequence of invasive infections. Risk factors for early-onset neonatal sepsis (EOS) include prematurity, immunologic immaturity, maternal Group B streptococcal colonization, prolonged rupture of membranes, and maternal intra-amniotic infection. Intrapartum antimicrobial prophylaxis administered to GBS-colonized women has reduced the burden of disease associated with early onset GBS invasive infections. Active surveillance has identified Gram-negative pathogens as an emerging etiology of early-onset invasive infections. Late-onset neonatal sepsis (LOS) attributable to Gram-positive organisms, including coagulase negative Staphylococci and Staphylococcus aureus, is associated with increased morbidity and mortality among premature infants. Invasive candidiasis is an emerging cause of late-onset sepsis, especially among infants who receive broad spectrum antimicrobial agents. Prophylactic fluconazole administration to very low birthweight (VLBW) neonates during the first 6 weeks of life reduces invasive candidiasis in neonatal intensive care units with high rates of fungal infection. Prevention of healthcare associated infections through antimicrobial stewardship, limited steroid use, early enteral feeding, limited use of invasive devices and standardization of catheter care practices, and meticulous hand hygiene are important and cost-effective strategies for reducing the burden of late-onset neonatal sepsis.
Keywords: Burden; Management; Neonatal sepsis; Prevention.
Copyright © 2013 The British Infection Association. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.